Lars and the Real Girl
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Sometimes you find love where you'd least expect it. Just ask Lars (Ryan Gosling), a sweet but quirky guy who thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named Bianca. Lars is completely content with his artificial girlfriend, but when he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker, Lars finds himself lost in a hilariously unique love triangle, hoping to somehow discover the real meaning of true love. Offbeat and endearing, this romantic comedy takes a fresh look at dating and relationships and dares to ask the question: What's so wrong with being happy?
To some, Lars and the Real Girl will play as comedy; to others, tragedy. Though Craig Gillespie (Mr. Woodcock) allows Lars Lindstrom (a mustachioed Ryan Gosling, miles away from Half Nelson) a happy ending, the road is far from smooth. This rumpled Midwesterner couldn't be more miserable. His brother, Gus (Paul Schneider, All the Real Girls), and sister-in-law, Karin (Emily Mortimer, Lovely and Amazing), fall over themselves to cheer him up, but Lars cannot be moved; hes been like that since childhood. Then a porn-addicted co-worker hips him to the lifelike Real Doll. The next thing everyone knows, Lars has a new girlfriend named Bianca. She's from Brazil, she's shy, and she uses a wheelchair. She's also made of silicon. (Because Lars is a devout Christian, hanky-panky is out of the question.) Since he's finally emerging from his shell, his doctor, Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson), advises Gus and Karin to play along with the "delusion." Soon the whole town, including Margo (Kelli Garner), who harbors a not-so-secret crush on her officemate, gets in on the action, forcing Lars to rejoin the human race or crawl deeper into psychosis. Written by Six Feet Under's Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl is built around such a preposterous premise, it's hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Fortunately, the actors play it straight. Gosling does his best to make Lars sympathetic, but Schneider and Mortimer, fully convincing in their concern, are the true heart and soul of this odd little film. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Lars when through the exact process of working through his inner pain with the miracle of Bianca. He was so thoroughly isolated and frozen in his loneliness - winter being the ideal metaphor - that Bianca was selected because of her guarantee to accept him with no demands. She was the ultimate safe woman for his journey of healing until he no longer needed her and the loving acceptance that Lars and his 'girlfriend' were shown paved the way.
His Pastor's summary that Bianca had been a blessing and a teacher to everyone who knew her was true. Yet, the catalyst for the miracle of Lars becoming well was the total acceptance of the townspeople. What a beautiful feeling to watch people not only accepting him as he was (without expectation of change), yet also enriching his reality in developing Bianca as a three dimensional person. I loved the shopping trips, volunteering, the beauty salon, etc., because those dynamic provided very innocent impetus to Lars being brought into the real world.
Through their acceptance and her weekly visits with Dr. Dagmar, Lars was learning to share his like outside of his comfort zone, and still at such a gentle pace that it did not intrude into my awareness until the film was concluding. Such a lovely film, though not quite what the trailer provided, in appearing lighthearted all the time. Yet, that approach hopefully brought in more people than would have seen it Lars' pain had been clearly revealed.
This is one of the most beautifully acted and directed films about love and acceptance being a path to healing and wholeness. The pacing is wonderful and every actor was so genuine that I forgot they were acting. Totally recommended! I will buy some copies to share with friends.
At it's core, it's a love story about a lonely man with intimacy issues. The trouble is, it's actually a film about a man who suffers from delusions, and an entire town and even medical professionals who go along with it. This includes giving up a hospital bed in an ICU ward to a sex doll, and allowing a sex doll to pretend to read books to children.
The choices are bizarre, and Lars illness is treated like a fad. None of the characters are fleshed out enough to explain anything about the way they behave, and at the end, the movie isn't the sad little love story everyone claims it to be; it's a story about a pathetic man-child in love with a sex doll and the people who enable him.